Top 5 Self-Produced Female Artists to Watch in 2021

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We want to do our part to help promote and celebrate all of the wonderful female artists this Women's History Month. Even more, we believe honoring and highlighting women's achievements should not be limited to a specific month of the year. As music lovers, we here at Townsend Labs passionately enjoy the global and diverse music landscape out there all year round. We invited the Canadian singer-songwriter Alysha Brilla to help us pick the Top 5 self-produced female artists to watch in 2021. Alysha is an award-winning independent artist, multi-instrumentalist, and music producer herself. She also takes an active role in promoting and encouraging the voices of youth and young women across the world. Before we forget, Alysha also has new music coming soon, so make sure you add her to your mental watch list!

Without further ado and standing in for all the amazing artists out there, we present you our Top 5 self-produced female artists to watch in 2021:

Joni NehRita - Singer/Songwriter/Producer/Speaker/Anti-Oppression Advocate

The Jamaican-Canadian artist Joni NehRita writes songs about unity, hope, and social justice. She infuses her jazz-tinged brand of soul with rhythms & sounds from her Afro-Caribbean background. The Toronto Canada native studied jazz vocals & arranging at Humber College. A multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and arranger, she has a gift for writing infectious, well-crafted, deeply personal songs. Joni passionately dreams of a more equitable world and encouraging each other to smash those ceilings as women of color.

"Joni is worth celebrating because her music, both spiritual and political, is a form of teaching and healing. She is working on her powerful new album "Love and Protest." - Alysha Brilla

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Sandunes - Composer/Producer/Beatsmith

Hailing from Mumbai, India, Sandunes' work has trodden a global footprint lately: She has opened for Bonobo at Manchester International Festival, supported George Fitzgerald's album release tour at Evolutionary Arts Hackney, and performed at London's Barbican Centre under a commission from Warp Records and Boiler Room. In India, she took in India's celebrated Magnetic Fields festival and the prestigious National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai. On top of that, she toured the US supporting the electronic music act Pretty Lights. Last year, she released an EP in collaboration with the UK drummer extraordinaire Richard Spaven (Flying Lotus, Jordan Rakei). Sandunes has announced new music to come this April, so keep your eyes and ears peeled.

"I love the soothing electronic sounds she produces and how much she experiments with audio to chronicle in music the rich sonic tapestry of the spaces around her." - Alysha Brilla

Maylee Todd - Multi-Disciplinary Artist/Music Producer

Maylee Todd is a multi-media artist and musician based in Toronto. Her creativity derives from a wide range of artistic disciplines: songwriting, production, film, performance art, and 3D projection mapping. Maylee's themes are inspired by science fiction, human development/psychology, and unconventional thinking. She produces shows for alternative experiences. Her music is an amalgamation of soul, r'n'b, electronic, and experimental. Maylee furthermore engages in music production workshops, education, and mentorships.

"Maylee Todd is always doing something innovative as an artist. She has been championing women in production long before it became topical, and she is a bit of a Toronto legend." - Alysha Brilla

Wild Black- Artist/Songwriter/Producer

Having fronted bands since she was fifteen years old, Elsa Gebremichael, aka Wild Black, has many years of experience in the Canadian music scene and continues to grow as a self-managed musician, songwriter, producer, and performer. In her previous projects (We Were Lovers, The Radiation Flowers (ex-Powder Blue), and From Chimpan-A to Chimpan-Z), Elsa has toured throughout Europe and North America, showcased at festivals such as SXSW, NXNE, HPX, CMJ, and BIME in Spain and The Great Escape. She has opened for Janelle Monae, Tegan and Sara, and Metric. All of this culminated in a nomination for a Western Canadian Music Award for Pop Recording of the Year. While she's not 100% self-produced (yet?), she continues to develop her craft under Maylee Todd's mentorship and plans to release new music later this year. A must-watch!

"Wild Black is such a dynamic writer and producer; I love how she isn't afraid to experiment and be herself in her sound and aesthetic. I really appreciate how she integrates so many facets of self into her art." - Alysha Brilla

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Desirée Dawson - Artist/Space Creator/Music Producer


Desirée Dawson is a queer recording artist, songwriter, producer, and yoga teacher from Vancouver, BC. She is very passionate about music's role in collective healing by encouraging listeners to connect within themselves and the people and land around them. To her, music is pure medicine. Her work has been featured on numerous CBC radio programs, and she won the CBC Searchlight contest in 2016. Her single "All In" premiered on Billboard Pride and was featured in the TV series Wynonna Earp in August 2020. We can't wait to find out what she comes up with next.

"Desirée is such a healer through music and sound. Integrating yoga, meditation, and philosophy into her songs and offerings, her music is such a grounding and uplifting force for so many." - Alysha Brilla

Top 5 Self-Produced Female Artists to Watch in 2021 Spotify Playlist

Enjoy this diverse selection of tracks by the five female artists on our Top 5 list for 2021:

About Alysha Brilla

Top 5 self-produced female artists to watch in 2021 Alysha Brilla promo shot

Alysha Brilla is a 3X Juno Award nominated artist, multi-instrumentalist, music producer, and creative wellness facilitator currently producing her fifth self-produced full-length record, 'The Body'; blending global roots sounds with expansive lyrical themes and meditative undertones. In addition to live performances of music, Brilla has conducted creative wellness workshops in schools for the past ten years; promoting storytelling through music and mentoring in self-expression through the arts with a focus on developing skills in songwriting and music production. A special focus on encouraging and promoting the voices of youth and young women across the world for their critical perspectives on environment and social awareness and action.

About Townsend Labs

Following more than three years of technical development, Townsend Labs was founded in 2015 by thirteen-year Avid alum and DSP architect Chris Townsend, together with Erik Papp, previously CEO of Summit Audio Inc. Townsend Labs Inc. is a professional audio company in the San Francisco Bay Area region of California. In July 2016, Townsend Labs announced their world-class patented microphone modeling technology, Sphere. Sphere’s analog hardware directly captures spatial and distance information in the sound field. This allows for unprecedented control and multi-dimensional modeling of vintage microphones from within the Sphere plug-in. Since its debut in 2016, the Townsend Labs Sphere L22 has established itself as the best microphone modeling solution. Its pioneering multi-dimensional modeling technology and unique dual-channel design take microphone modeling far beyond mimicking the static on-axis response of the original microphones. 


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